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Old January 24th, 2010, 12:06 PM
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cleusk cleusk is offline
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Default David Blackburn's Auditioning

Park City Daily News
December 1, 1974
By Dick Kleiner



Davis Blackburn produces the shows for Six Flags which has large amusement parks in Texas, Georgia, and Missouri, with smaller operations elsewhere in Texas and in California. Among them all, Blackburn employs around 500 performers. He holds auditions every year and every year he personally auditions, he says, perhaps 5,000 youngsters.

He auditions generally around the city where he needs the talent - Dallas, Fort Worth, Atlanta, St. Louis - but when his staff has the time it goes further afield in search of fresh young faces and voices. Once, he went to Provo, Utah, which he remembers mostly because an Indian boy came in and dance with a snake.

Once performers are hired, Blackburn puts them in work at shows at one or another of the parks. Generally, they are amateurs at first, but quickly become pros, although not what you'd call overpaid.They work for salaries a bit more than $3 an hour.

Over the years, much new talent has been developed at the amusement parks. And Blackburn takes great satisfaction in the emerging careers of some of his alumni - Cissy King and Ralna English, both now with the Lawrence Welk Show, and Betty Buckley, recently starting on Broadway in Pippin", got their starts as youngsters in the Six Flags shows.

Blackburn says many of them find that the dream comes nowhere near being realized. They have to work too hard and they don't get the money to make them forget their weariness. It does, however, give the dreamers the chance to get the fantasy out of their systems.

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